We gave it an A-
It’s virtually impossible to think of Chariots of Fire, the Oscar winner about two British sprinters’ pursuit of the 1924 Olympics, without hearing Vangelis’ transcendent score. In a look-back documentary on the new two-disc special edition, screenwriter Colin Welland credits 40 percent of the film’s success to its soaring music. He may be understating: The same doc includes the slow-motion beach run backed by Vangelis’ first, lesser attempt, and the goose-pimple factor is reduced by a power of 10. The compelling tale of the defiant and determined Harold Abrahams and the God-gifted Scot Eric Liddell is an extraordinary study of individualism and class conflict, and the look-back, plus a reunion, deleted scenes, screen tests, and a director’s commentary, explain how a $6 million period piece about running earned seven Oscar nominations and grossed $58 million. Greatly missed, however, are both the Ians — Ian Charleson and Ian Holm. Charleson, a.k.a. Liddell, who died of complications from AIDS in 1990, is a mere footnote in the extras. Holm, who played Abrahams’ trainer, is very much alive (The Aviator, The Lord of the Rings). His glaring absence is only accented by director Hugh Hudson’s frequent lauding of his Oscar-nominated performance. Perhaps Holm is wearing Bilbo’s ring again?